I am Chris Purdie is a performance art piece involving thirty-five performers playing the role of visual artist Chris Purdie. The cast wears the "Chris Purdie uniform" and performs the role as they interact with patrons attending the artist's reception. For the duration of the exhibition, there will be at least one "Chris Purdie" in the gallery during their hours.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A critique on "I am Chris Purdie"

Right now I am taking a Intermediate Jazz class and was asked to write a performance critique and I decided to write it on "I am Chris Purdie" and Chris asked me to post it on here, So here it is...

I was part of a live Art Show. I have never seen anything like this before. The artist  was my brother, Chris Purdie. He worked on this project for over a year. He dressed in the same clothes everyday.

            He fist started thinking about the project when he realized he was uncomfortable at his shows when he interacted with the public. His brother Jason is an actor and Chris thought he could get Jason to go to the show and play “ Chris Purdie”. Better yet I could have several people play me to cover different situations.

            For his final project at BYU Chris decided to do a live art show, something new for this area. He had auditions and recruited 35 people – boys and girls to portray “Chris Purdie”. He met with each “Chris” for 2-3 hours. Each person studied Chris’ mannerisms and characteristics and tried to be as much like him as they could.

            On the night of the performance, March 6, 2006 we arrived at the Sego Art Center in Provo at 5:30. The show went from 6-9 pm. Over 600 people went throught the gallery during that time. I was very nervous to be “Chris Purdie” and talk to the people there. However, it was quite fun. I talked to lots of people and it was also interesting to listen to the other “Chris Purdies” talk to the public. I thought because I was Chris’ sister I would know most everything about him, but I was amazing at what I learned about him. It was very relaxed and some people stayed for a long time because it was so interesting and different.

            We also went to Salt Lake to channel 2 news to advertise for the show. That was an experience! The wanted to know who the real Chris Purdie was and they were told “we all are”. I don’t think they ever realized who the real Chris was. We went to a breakfast/coffee place up there and rode the escalators up and downin a row. People watching were very interested and just wanted to stare at us.

            It was kind of weird to dress as a guy, but interesting to see the reactions from people. It made you feel like whenever we meet and sincerely talk to someone, you take a part of them with you.

            It was great to be a part of something new. I guess they do live art show a lot in New York and LA, but this was a very different concept for here. People were very open to the excitement  of the show. Some were very confused and their main objective was to find the real Chris. As people cam in you could see the confusion in their eyes, but as they talked to the Chris Purdies and felt the excitement, they settled in and enjoyed the experience.

            Many of the participants talked about their experiences as Chris Purdie and for most of them it was amazing. It was almost a spiritual experience for some as they worked to get to know him and represent him. They had to change their own characteristics some had to be more quiet and move more slowly. They had to learn how to stand and hold their hands and interact with others differently than they were used to. Most of the performers took this challenge very serious and it will be an experience that will stay with them. Many also want to be involved in similar shows in the future.

            I think all together it was a very successful show. Everyone put what they could put into it. Some could have put more, but that is expected. It went so good for Chris. He put a lot of time and hard work into it and it came out exactly how he was expecting. For me, I probably could have worked a little harder on it. I could have studied the character a little more, but I was very scared and I went in there and did it! I’m proud of myself for doing it. 

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